Windstream Rolls Out VeloCloud-Powered SD-WAN Offering For Partners, Business Customers

Windstream is joining the growing SD-WAN movement. The telecom provider has unveiled an SD-WAN solution that will help both its channel partners and business customers manage increasingly complex, hybrid IT environments.

Windstream's new SD-WAN offering, powered by VeloCloud, will let companies easily customize and manage their network resources from one place, while cutting bandwidth costs along the way. The latest addition to Windstream's managed WAN services portfolio is also a great value-added service, and a new avenue for recurring revenue for partners, according to Windstream's channel chief Jason Dishon.

"Our partners have the ability to use us for the entire solution, including out network and all our business applications that run on top of the SD-WAN solution, like our [unified communications as a service] UCaaS offering," Dishon told CRN.

[Related: Windstream-EarthLink Merger Will Continue Enterprise And Midmarket Channel Focus]

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The SD-WAN solution works in combination with Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream's hybrid networking solutions, business applications, and voice solutions, which gives both customers and partners more insight into traffic in real-time. Businesses can monitor and provision virtual services in the branch, cloud or data centers, using a combination of private and public internet access options from a central console. This can help companies save money on administrative costs associated with WAN management, said Mike Kozlowski, Windstream's vice president of product management.

From the partner perspective, the solution will help partners build cost-competitive networking solutions that include access diversity, according to Kozlowski.

Dishon said the SD-WAN solution is available immediately through the channel and Windstream plans to make SD-WAN training available to its partners.

Windstream and telecommunications service provider EarthLink announced plans to merge in a $1.1 billion all-stock transaction in November. Atlanta-based EarthLink already has its SD-WAN solution that is available through its channel partners. EarthLink SD-WAN Concierge is both a platform and managed service offering that businesses and channel partners can use to manage network functions and internet of things (IoT) environments.

Dishon said that because the VeloCloud platform also powers EarthLink's SD-WAN solution, the two offerings "fit together."

"With the acquisition, this is really going to be a benefit for our partners who are already strong in SD-WAN," Dishon said. "SD-WAN is definitely the kind of product that gives our partners another easy add-on."

The merger between the two providers is expected to close around during the first half of 2017. In the meantime, Windstream and EarthLink are operating as separate companies.

Windstream is seeing interest in SD-WAN solutions from customers in the retail, banking, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and professional services industries, specifically businesses that have multiple distributed locations, Windstream's Kozlowski said.

"From our perspective, what drives customer interest in SD-WAN is cost efficiencies and reduced price per megabyte, increased voice reliability, data analytics, and the ability to ensure secure branch offices and meet PCI compliance requirements," he said.